To experience fear is normal in our fallen world. It has come to mark the lives of all men and women. Some fear things like heights, crowds, or spiders, while others are anxious about their finances or future.
When fear rears its ugly head it causes all kinds of mischief. Fear often obstructs our view of Jesus, forcing our focus onto our circumstances. It can weaken our faith in the goodness and power of God. Fear produces a fog that makes it harder to discern the depth of God’s kindness, the magnitude of his grace, and his crazy love for his people. Fear produces a theological amnesia that makes us forget who God is and what he is like.
Fear is actually a bigger deal than we realize. It has its roots in unbelief. Do you remember that children’s song, “He’s got the whole word in his hands?” If all things really are in the hands of God what do we have to fear?
In my life, and in my friendship with other women, I have seen fear cause great damage in three areas. But where the knowledge of Christ takes root, these fears are overcome and Christians are set free.
No one likes to be alone, not really. While I enjoy a few hours or even a few days of peace and quiet, away from other people, I would never want to be alone all the time or even often. We are created by God for real companionship. Those who are far from family, or don’t have many friends, feel the sting of loneliness. It can make you sad and depressed.
But, remember Jeremiah 23:24:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I love this verse. God gently lifts the head of those who think they are all alone and reminds them that he is closer to them than a brother and more loyal than a best friend. We do not need to fear being alone because God is with us – always. We have someone to talk to and someone who listens to every word we say. Additionally, God has made every Christian a part of his family. Christ is our Savior, and believers are our brothers and sisters. Christ will support us when we are alone, as he calls us into fellowship with himself and his church.
Different people suffer for different reasons, but one thing is true of everyone, we all suffer. It is not a matter of “if”, it is simply a matter of “when.” The idea of suffering can be scary and yet Psalm 23 tells us to “fear no evil”. How is this possible? We have a shepherd who knows first hand the darkness of suffering. But his suffering was followed by his resurrection and exaltation. He suffered to save us from suffering, and by his resurrection he has given us the power to stand up when we suffer (Heb. 2:18). He offers to his sheep strength, grace, joy, and even contentment in the midst of hard days. This may sound impossible, but with God all things are possible. Do we believe this? You will suffer, but you must look for Christ in the midst of it
“Our Good Shepherd is Master of the world, stronger than all enemies, Conqueror of all, and is able to provide for His sheep in any place!”
– J.R. Miller
Death is ugly and horrendously painful for those who have experience loss because of it. I personally understand the fear that death brings with it. But we must be careful not to let this fear overcome us and crowd out the truth of God’s word.
As redeemed children of God we have something that cancels out the fear of death. We have the promise of eternal life.
“I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?
Death can no longer destroy the one who has been bought by the blood of Jesus. Death is now simply a doorway into life with God. It marks the end of our mission on earth and the beginning of an eternity of worship, perfection, joy and glory.
For the believer death has been unmasked and should no longer be a source of fear since we know it no longer has power over us. If we have believing friends and family members who have been claimed by death we should remember that our separation is only for a short time and then we will be reunited with them forever. While we miss them here on earth, we know that our reunion is sure.
While these truths are important for all of us, they are especially important for those of us who are parents. We must be able to give our children truth and hope when they face these fears themselves. We must point them to Jesus because it is only through him that we have the power to crush fear in our lives. God is bigger than any of our fears and this God has taken up residence in us. Why should we be afraid?